It’s been a rough few days. A fresh wave of grief has hit and all but swept me away. I’m not very good at ‘living in the moment’, especially when the moment I’m living in isn’t what I wanted or hoped for. I’ve always been ambitious. A planner. A firm believer that nothing will happen unless I make it. I don’t believe in serendipity, and I certainly don’t want to wait around and find out what fate has in store for me. This makes it hard when I am dissatisfied – I place the blame squarely on myself for the things I perceive as lacking, even when life has dealt me blows I couldn’t possibly have predicted.
It makes me restless – I try to pinpoint what is missing and take action: short on money? Try eBay! Make something! Career stalling? Try out some new ones! Feeling lonely? Get on a dating app! Lacking direction? Plan an epic trip and write a blog about it! The undercurrent of discontent is threatening to pull me under and I am desperate for change, but trying to fix these things doesn’t seem to be helping. I feel like I’m constantly treading water rather than getting anywhere. And that’s because its not these things that need fixing right now. And what I’m really missing is irreplaceable.
Today we met my father in law for lunch at the cathedral cafe, as we do every Friday. I’d noticed a signpost last week pointing to a ‘Children’s Garden’. We’ve been having lunch there for over a year now so I can’t believe I never spotted it before. Over lunch the exhaustion of fighting off the tears for days meant I was falling asleep at the table and in desperate need of fresh air, so suggested we find the garden.
We admired our long shadows, stretched before us as we wandered the wide path that flanks the cathedral. The view from this side reaches across a valley to The Mount, where Omid’s ashes are scattered. I love that it is visible from all parts of town, so I can gaze at him wherever I am. At the end of the path was a gate leading to the garden, which, it transpired, was designed for children who have suffered bereavement and loss.
In the centre stood a sculpture of a girl and boy, she blowing a dandelion and he trying to catch the seeds as they drifted away – a game Ava and I enjoyed on our walks home from nursery all summer. Each corner was dedicated to a season, with a plaque reminding us of the circle of life. I watched Ava play and tried to enjoy the moment, appreciate the poignancy of finding that place today, and let the sadness wash over me. She kicked at a sticky piles of leaves, and revealed a solitary dog violet, as out of place and lonely as I’ve felt the past few days, but beautiful and strong, and I was grateful it was still standing in spite of the biting cold and decay round it.
I’m not religious, but afterwards I had an urge to light a candle in the cathedral for Omid. A manifestation of the love I feel for him which lights up my heart as much as it burns, and a promise that I’ll never let that flame go out. But alongside that I need to remember that, as the summer plaque had stated, “even when you feel sad, the world can be bright, full of sunshine and flowers”.
And, actually, perhaps that’s all you really need.